Meet Our Family
Robert John Zavoral – Founder
R.J., at the age of 14, went to work with his father on various ditching and grading projects until his brother called him to Chicago. There he worked construction on the water front until the draft notice came calling him to serve in World War II. He was enlisted in the United States Navy and served in the Fighting Seabees division. R.J. rose to the rank of Chief Machinists Mate and was deployed in the Pacific arena building bases and docks during the war effort. After his service, he went to work for Strom Construction, regrading roads in the Northwest Minnesota. While working in the Cass Lake area, he met his future wife Lois Raboin and they were married on January 23rd, 1948. R.J. Zavoral was called to the Red River Valley in 1951 to fight spring flooding. One job led to another and he and his family came to call the area Home. Over his career, he watched his small business grow and develop in to a premier earth moving company in the Red River Valley and beyond. R.J. died on April 26th 1990 with his family at his side. His spirit and values are still the foundation of the business he founded so many years ago.
John Zavoral – President/CEO for R.J. Zavoral and Sons, Inc.
John has over 40 years of construction experience. John started in the company as an equipment operator in 1976 and became a share holder of the company in 1986. In 1987 he became the Secretary/Treasurer for the company. In 2019 he was elected President/CEO. John has always undertaken the leadership role of supervising projects and crews. His present role involves leading the company into the future.
Robert Zavoral – Past President/CEO (2017-2019) – Retired
Rob grew up in the same construction focused family and spent several years working as a construction foreman for Christiansen Industrial Developers. In 1988, he moved from Bemidji, MN to work in the family business. In 1991, he became a company share holder and Vice President. In 2017, Rob was elected President/CEO a roll he served in until 2019. Robert’s many years of field experience lead to a common-sense approach to getting tasks done.
Peter Zavoral – Past President/CEO (1979-2017) – Retired
Pete started working in construction when he was 14 years old working with his father. After high school graduation he spent 3 years as a Survey Technician for Floan and Sanders Inc. In 1973, after graduating from Assumption Abbey College with an Associated Arts Degree, he joined his father in the family business primarily as an equipment operator. In May of 1979, he became a shareholder in R.J. Zavoral & Sons, Inc. With the encouragement of his father RJ, Pete became the main estimator for the business. At the age of 37, Pete became the President following the death of his mentor and father Robert and has served in the position for 38 years. The lessons he learned from his Father gave him the wisdom for moving the earth and still maintaining a family centered construction business.
Daniel Zavoral, P.E. Business Operations Manager for R.J. Zavoral & Sons, Inc.
Dan started his construction career almost 30 years ago working as a laborer on the pipe crew. He then moved on to surveying while earning his degree in Civil Engineering from the University of North Dakota. After graduating from UND in 1998, he worked as an Environmental Engineer for Wenck Associates, Inc. of Maple Plain, MN. In 2000, he returned to work for R.J. Zavoral & Sons, Inc. as a Project Manager and began to assist with estimating. In 2006, he became a shareholder in the business as well as a registered Professional Engineer in the state of North Dakota. His engineering experience, project management skills, and commitment to excellence have proven successful in creating long term business relationships that continue to provide project opportunities for R.J. Zavoral & Sons, Inc.
David Zavoral – Vice President for R.J. Zavoral & Sons, Inc.
Dave started with the business in 1995 as an equipment operator. Upon graduating from Moorhead State University in 2001, with a B.A. in Communications and a Minor in Construction Management, he moved into project supervision. In 2006, Dave became a shareholder in the business and from 2008 to 2016 he served as Field Operations Manager. In 2019 he was elected Vice President and his present role is to develop and recruit the best staff and customers in the Red River Valley and beyond.
Joseph Zavoral, P.E. Treasurer and Estimating Manager for R.J. Zavoral & Sons, Inc.
Joe started his career in 1996 as a yard laborer working alongside Grandma Lois. He then spent his summers, on the pipe crew, surveying and grade staking, and implementing the GPS program for the business. He graduated from University of North Dakota in 2003 with a degree in Civil Engineering. In 2006, Joe became a shareholder in the business and in 2008 he became a registered Professional Engineer in the state of North Dakota. He has held many roles over the years including, GPS Program Manager, Safety Director, and Quality Control Manager. His well-rounded background, attention to detail, and easy-going personality are just some of the skills Joe utilizes to successfully manage multiple projects simultaneously.
Benjamin Horken – Field Operations Manager for R.J. Zavoral and Sons, Inc.
Ben’s career with the business started in 1997 as a laborer. He worked on the pipe crew during the summer until finishing high school. In 1999, Ben started actively leading crews and supervising small utility projects. In 2006, Ben became a shareholder in the company. From 2010-2017 Ben was the company’s Underground Utilities Manager. In 2017, Ben became the company’s Field Operations Manager, he is active in the day to day operations and managing crews and equipment of all projects.
Michael Zavoral – Asset Manager/Project Manager for R.J. Zavoral & Son, Inc.
Mike started with the business in the spring of 1997 as a surveyor during the flood fighting efforts in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, since then Mike has seen all aspects of the company. For many years he worked his way through the ranks running scrapers, dozers, and excavators on road jobs and site development projects and manning the maintenance shop. In 2006, Mike became a shareholder in the business and moved to project supervision while continuing to coordinate equipment maintenance in the shop. Heading up many projects up and down the Valley for the last decade, Mike has gained much knowledge, experience, and love for the business. In 2017, he undertook the duties as the company’s Asset Manager. With his years of experience and willingness to step in and help at any role, Mike is a proven leader of the business and will continue to be for years to come.
Thomas Zavoral – Survey Technician for R.J. Zavoral & Sons Inc.
Tom started working in 2000 spending his summers learning how to shoot grade with a tape and laser. As technology changed, he began working with the company’s GPS program. After graduating from the University of North Dakota in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science, he took on a more permanent role as a Survey Technician. He spends his days surveying sites throughout the region and helping to ensure that every road, ditch, levee, and foundation is accurately built to the high standards of the business.
Jennifer Zavoral Hendrickson – Shop Office Administrator for R.J. Zavoral & Sons, Inc.
Jennifer started working in the business in the summer of 2003 as an operator and yard laborer working alongside Grandma Lois. In 2005, after graduating high school, she moved to Bemidji, MN where she attended Bemidji State/Bemidji Technical College. She graduated in 2008 with a A.A. in Business and a Minor in Business Administration. After graduation she stayed in Bemidji, taking jobs with Pepsi and The Idea Circle as an office administrator. In July 2011, she returned to her roots in the family business to become the Shop Office Administrator.
Jacob Zavoral – Safety and Human Resources Officer for R.J. Zavoral & Sons, Inc.
Jake began working in the business in 2007 as an equipment operator while still in high school. He continued helping out every summer as an operator until graduating from the University of North Dakota with a B.B.A. in Business Management. In 2015, Jake assumed the duties as the Safety Officer for the business and continues to serve that role today.